ONE: Battleground Preview
ONE Championship returns to action this weekend with ONE: Battleground, the first of a three-event series to be filmed at the Singapore Indoor Stadium on July 30th. Battleground will air live, while the second and third installments will go to air on August 13th and August 27th respectively.
The event is headlined by reigning ONE Strawweight Kickboxing and Muay Thai Champion Sam-A Gaiyanghadao, who puts his Muay Thai title on the line against a rising star in fellow Thai Prajanchai P.K. Saenchaimuaythaigym.
Sam-A is the only fighter in ONE Championship history to hold three different titles, as he once held the ONE Flyweight Muay Thai Title prior to capturing his current swathe of belts. The 37-year-old veteran of a staggering 426 fights is undefeated since making the jump to strawweight and will be looking to add Prajanchai to his long list of victims, the last of which was Australia’s Josh Tonna at ONE: Reign of Dynasties in October.
Prajanchai on the other hand is making his ONE debut and is wasting no time going after the champion Sam-A, after cleaning up on the famed stadium circuit in his native Thailand. The 26-year-old has been having trouble finding opponents of late and will be keen to add a living legend to his growing resume.
In the co-main event, Burmese superstar Aung La Nsang moves back down to middleweight, in what could prove to be a number one contender bout with Brazilian former title challenger, Leandro Ataides.
ONE championship’s former ‘champ-champ’ Aung La (26-12, 1NC) is looking to bounce right back into contention after losing both of his titles to Dutchman Reinier de Ridder in October and April. A win would almost certainly catapult the 36-year-old back to the front of the queue for a third crack at his new nemesis.
Ataides (11-4) is a long-time mainstay of the middleweight division, having challenged for the inaugural ONE Middleweight Title way back in 2014, succumbing by TKO to Igor Svirid. However, with only one fight to his name in the past three years, a split decision loss to de Ridder, the 34-year-old is now presented with a golden opportunity to challenge for the belt once again.
Elsewhere on the card, Indian wrestling star Ritu Phogat will look to get back into the winner’s column when she takes on China’s Lin Heqin.
Phogat (4-1) was bounced from the ranks of the unbeaten, and ultimately from the much-hyped ONE Strawweight Grand Prix when she suffered an upset split-decision loss to Vietnam’s Bi Nguyen at ONE: Dangal in May.
The ONE matchmakers have not given ‘The Indian Tigress’ an easy route back to title contention against Heqin (14-2-1), the owner of an 11-fight win streak. ‘Fighting Sister’ is making her second ONE appearance, following a submission win over Jomary Torres on debut, although it was way back in February 2019 at ONE: Reign of Valor.
The opening bout of the evening will feature Victoria Lee, younger sister of ONE Championship stars Angela and Christian, who will be looking to improve her MMA record to 2-0 when she takes on China’s Wang Lu Ping. The 17-year-old prodigy made good on her much-anticipated debut in February, defeating Thailand’s Sunisa Srisen by submission.
21-year-old Wang (3-2) will be looking to spoil Lee’s sophomore outing and make a successful ONE debut of her own.
The card is rounded out by two further MMA bouts, as Japan’s Ryuto Sawada (14-6) takes on Greco-Roman wrestling champion Gustavo Balart (8-4) and China’s Chen Rui (9-2) takes on debuting Filipino Jeremy Pacatiw (10-4).
ONE: Battleground full card:
ONE Strawweight Muay Thai Championship: Sam-A Gaiyanghadao (Thailand) (C) vs. Prajanchai PK.Saenchaimuaythaigym (Thailand)
Middleweight MMA: Aung La Nsang (Myanmar) vs. Leandro Ataides (Brazil)
Strawweight MMA: Ryuto Sawada (Japan) vs. Gustavo Balart (Cuba)
Women’s atomweight MMA: Ritu Phogat (India) vs. Lin Heqin (China)
Bantamweight MMA: Chen Rui (China) vs. Jeremy Pacatiw (Philippines)
Women’s atomweight MMA: Victoria Lee (United States/Singapore) vs. Wang Lu Ping (China)